Review by Natasha Wyborn
5 great Aussie bands, a perfect opener to this year’s Day on the Green. Something is in the air every November; a day all Hunter Valley music fans look forward to every year, the season opener of A day on the Green!
As the warm air hits the near capacity crowd, so too did other scary elements of the dry countryside. To be specific, smoke from distant fires. The crowd was calm despite smoke in the distance. On stage I guess you could call the gathering of 5 indie bands an opportunistic reunion from the Big Day Out days. Bimbadgen always turns it on rain or shine. The atmosphere and fun is now bedded within the grass you stand on. The venue remains one of the very few that allow you to bring in food. With picnic rugs a plenty, the audience predominately 40 plus years of age, settled in for a long afternoon innings.
First on the card was The Meanies. A brief set consisting of punk meets rock went over well with the ever increasing crowd.
Jebediah lead by front man Kevin Mitchell traded conversation with the audience in a way he would talk to someone in his lounge room, not a large venue. Mitchell added a comment about the seating informing the audience “I think this is the first time we have ever played a venue with chairs” referring to the gold section. The band played a tight set tempting the audience with songs including “Feet Touch the Ground”, “Harpoon” and “Teflon”.
With the crowd warmed up, Spiderbait took the stage. Drummer and spokesperson for the band Kram, was in fine vocal form, announcing early in the set that the band was celebrating 25 years in the business which instantly made half the audience feel old. Kram also made a comment about the venue chairs. Spontaneously he encouraged the audience to “thrust them up at the sky” a feat that looked impressive but must have had the promoters holding their breath. The set was really a greatest hits collection with “Calypso” “Fucken Awesome” and “Old Man Sam” pumping up the audience. For me the highlight of the afternoon was bass player, Janet English’s version of the 1983 Nena classic “99 Luftballons” complete with German lyrics.
Something for Kate then took to the stage. Their set included songs from most of the bands 6 studio albums. Highlights for me included “Cigarettes and Suitcases”, “Déjà Vu” and “Electricity”. Interestingly the mood of the crowd slowed down taking an opportunistic chance to have a drink after being bitten by “the Spider”. Something for Kate proved yet again they are the perfect mix for the winery crowd, enjoying a nice merlot as the sun set behind the mountains. Overall a great set from this well-travelled band.
Finishing off the evening was You Am I. Lead singer Tim Rogers outlined from the start “we are a dance band so come down and dance”. Dressed in blue suits the band looked fantastic; an aura of class surrounded them. The band arrived on stage complete with a horn section and The Wolfgramm Sisters on backing vocals. The band was tight, the set was long and it was very well received. Rogers is at his best when he is running the show. If someone could explain the blue turban I am interested. The band sounds as good today as when they first hit the scene in the 90’s. The set list consisted of the old and their newer songs like “Beehive”. How could you go past classics like “Rumble”, “Cathy’s Clown” and a killer version of “Nutbush City Limits”? Rogers remains one of the key front men in Australian music. There is no doubt at times he can be over the top but the guy shares a unique passion for live music especially the kind born in sweaty pubs and clubs. Lubricating his words with a local bottle of local chardonnay, Rogers told the crowd to “keep sharing the love” with reference to local live music as he walked off into the night.
Overall a great day which confirms why after almost 400 “Days on the green” they still remain the hottest tickets in town.